Category Archives: Helpful Thinking

YouTube Playlist on Depression

Given the deadly nature of depression and how some people can’t or won’t participate in recovery here is a link to a playlist on YouTube. The playlist includes: short films, TED Talks, documentaries, college lecture, out there alternative treatment options. No endorsement real or implied.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

Here is the link to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-6rJNUx6cXCxacWbyHOcQLJCmW55U0gd

Non-recovery Resources for Depression

TRADITION FIVE – Each group has but one primary purpose- to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

In light of the fact that depression is a chronic, progressive, and if untreated, a fatal disease we are sharing these non-recovery resources around depression. This is not an exhaustive list mind you, but it is a start.

AUSTRALIA

Australian Government Department of Health
Mental health and suicide prevention
https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/mental-health-and-suicide-prevention
Some information available but site is mostly dedicated to providing mental health services to those residing in Australia

Beyond Blue
https://BeyondBlue.org.au
A non-government organization (NGO) focused on mental health support in Australia.

Lots of information available about various topics such as: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression, Covid and climate anxiety, and many other topics as well.

Discussion forums are available.
Mental health conditions
    Anxiety
    Depression
    PTSD & Trauma
    Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Caring for myself and others
    Staying well
    Treatments, health professionals and therapies
    Relationships and family issues
    Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)
    Long term support over the journey
People like mental
    Young people
    Sexual and gender identity
    Multicultural experiences
    Grief and loss

CANADA

Government of Canada – Mental Health and Wellness
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/topics/mental-health-wellness.html

Canadian Mental Health Association
https://cmha.ca/
A non-government organization (NGO) centered around mental health issues in Canada.
They have a BLOG covering many different topics. Peer support and online classes are available but I believe they are only available to Canadian residents.

IRELAND

Ireland Department of Health
https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-health/
Government agency for all health issues including mental health.

Mental Health Ireland
https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED KINGDOM

United Kingdom NHS mental health services
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

Mental Health Foundation
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Many articles on different mental health topics. Articles tend to have supporting links available: podcasts, videos, government services, NGO services.

Mind – for better mental health
https://www.mind.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

Depression Alliance
https://www.depressionalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED STATES

US – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
https://www.samhsa.gov/
A US federal government agency focused on substance abuse and mental health issues in the US. Links for treament options for substance abuse. A treasure trove of information on mental health and addiction issues. They have 381 publications on mental health, and 430 publications on substance abuse.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
https://www.nami.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
They have a helpline, support groups, online discussion groups, publications, video resource library. NAMI also has a number of regional offices distributed throughout the US. The NAMI regional offices provide support groups for a number of issues and tend to be short duration commitments (10 weeks)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
https://www.dbsalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Information resources: podcasts, videos, brochures, webinars, newsletter, online store. Free online class – Recovery Goal Setting Course – appears to be a workbook and 3 video modules. DBSA also has many local face to face support groups. DBSA also has online support groups.

Lois got it right

Lois joins a Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group.

It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I knew that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing to do anything that Depressed Anonymous offered. I wanted to get rid of the pain. If Depressed Anonymous had told me that I would get well if I stood on my head three times a day, I would have done it. Daily I read from the book and consciously worked the Twelve Steps. I worked them one at a time from One through Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.

Lois, a member of Depressed Anonymous

Source:

Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 110-111)

Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2012, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY.


For more information on Depressed Anonymous literature and ordering online, please VISIT THE STORE at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Keep your stick on the ice!

If you are a hockey player you know how important it is to keep your hockey stick on the ice. In fact this is one of the first lessons I learned when I started playing hockey. The reason was so that when a flying puck bounces around in the court and heads your way, you want to be ready. It might mean making a goal or losing a critical opportunity to score.
In Baseball we were told to “keep your eye on the ball.” Good advice. And in basketball the ball handler knows when he has a “good look” and needs to shoot the ball.
In our Twelve Step group of Depressed Anonymous, we have many short sayings like the ones mentioned that help keep us focused on our game. They are simple, direct and easy to understand. Not only do they help me continue to keep my life on track, but they also serve as “guardrails” reminding me of the various ways I can use them in my recovery. These short and pithy sayings are like my daily vitamins, providing some healthy immunity for fighting off all the negative thoughts that might be floating about in my head. What I am accomplishing by doing this simple activity is replacing a negative feeling with a pleasant one. I am replacing sunspots with darkness.
Here are some of my favorite slogans:

  • Keep It Simple
  • Take It Easy
  • One Day At A Time
  • Think
  • Easy Does It
  • Stick To The Plan
  • Let Go And Let God
  • Have A Nice Day Unless You Have Made Other Plans
  • God Is My Friend
  • All I Have Is These 24 Hours
  • This Too Shall Pass.

My advice to you is to keep your stick on the ice, get a good look, and keep your eye on the ball. You will score every time!
Have a great day!
Hugh S.

A Spiritual Conduit

The more I believe in this Power greater than myself the more that power begins to operate in my life. I am beginning to understand how life works – it is a paradox. The more I let go of my own perspective and turn it over to this greater power, I form a channel, a spiritual conduit by which this power can enter in and slowly and methodically transform my life. By my own life being transformed I find that the lives which I touch on a daily basis –they to begin to be transformed. Dep-Anon helps me focus my attention on what I need do. The attention is no longer on the depressed significant other but on where I am and how I will try and live one day at a time.

(Dep-Anon : A Twelve Step program of recovery for family and friends of the depressed. To be released for publication March 21, 2021.)

The world breaks everyone. Then some become strong at the ‘broken places’. – Ernest Hemingway

In his novel, Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway shares with us a truth that has become our own reality. I am referring to how we can become strong even when our life feels like it is spiraling out of control.

Case in point: when I was depressed for more than a year I felt like a zombie on the loose. Wherever I was I didn’t want to be there.I just wanted to be alone. The best place for me was to just lie down and sleep.

Gradually I began to feel a lift in my spirit as my mood began to spiral upwards instead of sliding down that slippery slope of despair and aloneness.

And then I became strong. I was learning a great deal about living. I admitted that my life had been out of control. It was if someone had turned off the power switch in my brain.
Thanks to the fellowship of the Depressed Anonymous group which I attended regularly, I started to use the tools which were provided me for my own recovery by the members of DA.

I also possessed an understanding of how my life before recovery was responsible for my depression. I found out that it was my thinking with its mistaken beliefs about myself, and my relationships that caused me to suddenly feel helpless and clueless as to what was happening to me. I became totally immobilized. My bed was my “go to” when I felt that I was in lockdown without goals or anything to look forward to. There didn’t appear to be a solution for what was happening to me.

Now, let’s fast-forward to my finding help. Now that I have been depression free for many years now, I can attribute my new way of looking at myself while applying the 12 step spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous to my everyday life and behaviors. With the support of the DA group my depression experience was closely examined. Now I have these “red flags” that can warn me of my old beliefs and behaviors that gradually and unconsciously forced me down to the ground. Because of recent negative events in my life and/or those of my childhood, which were brought to light by applying the 12 Steps to my life, past and present. Also by my sharing and participating in regular DA meetings, having a sponsor with whom I can share and get support outside of the meeting times.

Basically, I have become strong at my own “broken places” and become stronger every time I read the literature of DA, written by members of our DA fellowship, go to meetings, using all the many tools given to me and sharing with others. We believe that all newcomers at our meetings will also be able to heal their own “broken places” and discover a new life of hope and serenity. That’s a promise!

Hugh, for the fellowship


Everyone is able to order online literature from our website Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

This group gave me my voice back

There were times when I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening in my life – but I didn’t even have a name for whatever it was that had me totally immobilized. What could I tell my friends – that I felt I was losing my mind. Some mysterious cancer of the brain maybe? I was definitely scared. The more stuff that I read about the symptoms the more confused I became. Whatever it was I knew that I needed help. Go to a doctor? Talk to a counselor? I felt so alienated, from my self, family and friends. I had hit the wall.

Like others with whom I later became became acquainted, it gradually came to me that I must be depressed. I had most of the symptoms: I lost my appetite, I felt shame that I was unable to help myself. I did manage to hold down a job, but my main thing after work was to go home and sleep it off. I lost my ability to concentrate, plus my memory seemed to be on the blink. I didn’t answer my phone, skipped business appointments and just rather not be in touch with anyone and everyone. Most of all I was very angry about something that clearly made my life miserable, hopeless and out of my control. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning – why, because my life was now without goals, purpose and meaning. My own isolation from everything that I once valued and dear to me was gone. In a sense I had lost my voice to ask for help.

I got a phone call one day – a work buddy asked me to attend a meeting with him. I asked, “What kind of meeting?” He just said something to get you moving again. I agreed, but only for his sake did I agree to go with him. By this time I realized that I was depressed – I knew what I had – or what had me. And if you are presently attending Depressed Anonymous meetings you know what I am talking about.

Not til after a few more meetings did I feel comfortable in this group. But it was only after more meetings was I willing to share my own story. You know, the before (how it was before recovery) and the after (how it is now that I am in recovery, have my own sponsor and go regularly to meetings). I felt I had to speak. I needed to get it out in the open. I told my story how I was a veritable wreck during my struggle and inner battles with depression. And then how I came to this fellowship and became a new person. The key that unlocked my prison was this group of men and women just like myself – and a God of my own understanding who I know loved me and was with me all the time.

With my voice back and no longer all alone I am using it now to encourage others who come to our meetings – to keep coming back and using the tools that we freely offer them. They will be another voice added to the many who are today sharing their hope, strength and experiences. If you are brand new they will be wanting to tell you about it!!

A Depressed Anonymous Member

You Are Here

A few years back I was driving across a deserted stretch of highway in New Mexico. I noticed that my gas gauge showed that I was getting low on fuel. As I had no idea where the next gas station would be I began taking notice of signs, hoping to find a place to get gas. Having never traveled on this stretch of road before I was starting to get anxious. I didn’t want to run out of gas out here in the desert.

It wasn’t long until I could spot a small building a few hundred yards ahead. Lucky for ne, it was a gas station.I knew that I didn’t want to tempt fate, so I filled up my tank. I still had no idea where I was and so I asked the attendant where I was. He turned around and pointed to a large map on the wall. All the map showed was a long horizontal line across the face of the map. In the middle of the map there was a large X placed over the stretch of the road indicating YOU ARE HERE. My only problem was that I didn’t know where “here” was. My attendant was a man of few words and he said the next town was about an hour down the road. The map didn’t tell me much.

Just like many of us who are looking for some kind of support for our own lives, all we know is that a group called Depressed Anonymous was meeting today. This is the reason why you are here. We showed up today because our lives had come to a standstill. We were starting to feel there was no where to go. The man who is lost in the desert and running out of gas with no hope, can be a metaphor for all of our own lives. And at our first meeting of Depressed Anonymous today we don’t know what to expect – only that I am here and you are here. Let our recovery begin.
Hugh, for the fellowship.

Awesome article on PsychologyToday.com

A friend of mine in recovery posted a link to an article on depression that should be read by all those who have depression, or have a loved one with depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/202012/we-ve-got-depression-all-wrong-it-s-trying-save-us

In it the author, Alison Escalante M.D. discusses how there is current research around depression that posits depression is not a disease per se, but rather a biological adaptive response to adversity and trauma. I will post the first three paragraphs here, but I highly recommend that you read the full article.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

For generations, we have seen depression as an illness, an unnecessary deviation from normal functioning. It’s an idea that makes sense because depression causes suffering and even death. But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if depression is not an aberration at all, but an important part of our biological defense system?

More and more researchers across specialties are questioning our current definitions of depression. Biological anthropologists have argued that depression is an adaptive response to adversity and not a mental disorder. In October, the British Psychological Society published a new report on depression, stating that “depression is best thought of as an experience, or set of experiences, rather than as a disease.” And neuroscientists are focusing on the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in depression. According to the Polyvagal Theory of the ANS, depression is part of a biological defense strategy meant to help us survive.

The common wisdom is that depression starts in the mind with distorted thinking. That leads to “psychosomatic” symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue. Now, models like the Polyvagal Theory suggest that we’ve got it backward. It’s the body that detects danger and initiates a defense strategy meant to help us survive. That biological strategy is called immobilization, and it manifests in the mind and the body with a set of symptoms we call depression.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/202012/we-ve-got-depression-all-wrong-it-s-trying-save-us
Author: Alison Escalante M.D.

It takes many threads to make a beautiful tapestry

We don’t accomplish anything in this life alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weaving of individual threads from one to another that create something.

– Sandra Day O’connor

Our mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous creates beautiful, hopeful and serene members.